Hi Anna — Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this! I commend how open you are to thinking deeply about both monogamy and polyamory and seeing both sides.
I never thought I would be poly. I knew people who were poly and always felt confused by it. But the relationship I developed with Drake is one of a kind. We both came to polyamory while together. We talked about it, flirted with the idea, and eventually I realized I needed it. I needed to feel connected to people in a way that felt authentic, which sometimes includes sexually, and almost always includes emotionally. I felt frustrated with all of my partners both emotionally and sexually in the past after being with them a long time. Maybe it’s partly because I’m also kinky, but also crave building a home with a partner.
While I wish Drake was 100% comfortable with me spending the night with another partner, he isn’t. And after repressing these desires for a couple of years, I was feeling the same resentment I had felt in every monogamous relationship. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I hope he grows more comfortable and I am not moving quickly into this place of discomfort. But I’m breathing into it because I need it.
Another thing I’m not sure was clear in the article: Drake is ethically non-monogamous too. His ENM is more about going on dates, staying out late and having fun. I’m not totally comfortable with that — I worry about when he drinks and I hate when he’s gone late and I’m home alone. But I realize that is something that fulfills him so we have compromised and I told him I won’t expect him home at a particular time but I would like a check-in call or text. He moves slowly for me too when he hits a sore point. It’s uncomfortable but has been getting easier.
We are not married and neither of us feels the desire to “belong” to each other, especially not in a legal way. We talk about our relationship a lot, including in bi-monthly therapy, to continuously check in with ourselves and each other and confirm that we want to be together. I didn’t make the choice to spend the night with another partner lightly, and our therapist helped us develop a plan that we both agreed worked to take into account both of our needs and wants.
I totally understand the desire to be monogamous. I sometimes wish I was… it seems easy… but I’m not! I also realize it’s not easy. Monogamous people aren’t immune from discomfort either. For example, someone wants to meet with an ex to catch up when they are in town. Their partner isn’t comfortable with it. Does it default to the person who is uncomfortable? It’s a slippery slope and can quickly become controlling if that happens. Maybe that’s what polyamory is to me — not controlling other people’s behaviors. It’s also building communication, self-reflection and empathy skills.
I love your metaphor you offered about Fahrenheit vs Celsius. Sometimes we just want what’s familiar and that we understand better, and I totally support that if it works for everyone involved.